Most of us live in a fast-paced world filled with constant activity, responsibilities and demands. Beginning at an early age, we’re taught that we need to learn quickly else we’ll be left behind. In grade school, if your pace was slower than the curriculum presented, you might have been labeled a “slow learner” and carried that emotional sign around your neck throughout your schooling.
Unfortunately, most traditional education has not advanced throughout the decades in catering to the various brain types with our diverse ways of learning and processing information. As a result, those creative students who learn and think outside the box have often felt as if they’re pushing against the tide in order to keep up with the class.
Added to the mix are our parents who often feel the need to push us, in one form or another to stay the course and study harder, bringing their own level of concern and demand into the equation.
It’s no wonder that we live in a society where so many feel stressed and overly pressured in our daily routine. For many, we’ve become a culture that’s addicted to speed with caffeine and sugar being two of our most precious and coveted commodities! Relying on our minds and smartphones to hold the fabric of our daily lives together can often feel overwhelming and exhausting.
Thus, the notion of devoting time daily for slowing down and being still in order to expand and stretch time (so to speak) would seem counter-intuitive. Yet, the truth is that when we still our minds from our daily concerns, clearer insights and solutions often appear.
Imagine this being similar to filtering out all of the minerals and contaminates in a glass of drinking water. Once the filter has sifted through all of the unwanted particles, the water is clear and fresh to consume. This also holds true for the mind, once we become still, all dissonant thoughts (worries, distractions, judgments….) are dissolved into the peace and clarity that rest at the center of our being.
There’s only one difference between these two examples. If you have a good quality water filter, you’ll see results immediately, whereas the results will not likely be immediately obvious with a daily meditative practice. Akin to the sculpting of a magnificent work of art, it can take time to refine your practice and witness the beauty of its form. To become a master sculptor, you must be willing to devote years to refining your craft, and through time witness the magnificent form emerge through the stone block. What if Michelangelo had said, “Forget it, this is taking too long!”
We must be willing to devote the necessary time to cultivating a practice of slowing down and quieting our minds. And through this daily practice, in time, we’ll begin to notice less and less disturbing thoughts lingering around us throughout our daily activities. The self-judgments and judgments of others will begin to dissolve, the mind chatter that entertains concerns and worries will lessen, and a greater clarity of purpose and direction throughout each day will gradually blossom. We’ll begin to feel as though there is more time in the day to breathe and smell the roses because our limiting thoughts from the past will no longer slow us down and distract us. We’ll begin to trust the principle that through our stillness emerges an acceleration in our clarity that ignites a natural rhythm within, allowing us to be more productive and on-course with our daily purpose and responsibilities.
It is from this practice that we begin living not only a productive life but also one based in expansiveness. When we live from a limitless purview, boundless possibilities arise and cultivate greater forms of creativity. Creative thought freshens the world around us as we see with new eyes. We learn to breathe more fully in each moment and trust in our inner-guidance. We become attuned to life’s natural rhythms as they support and uplift our daily experience and we no longer feel the need to push against life because we’re riding in the direction of the tide. We begin to greet the demands in our life from a perspective of being co-creative agents rather than victims, and learn to dance with the ever changing twists and turns along the path.
We now trust to slow down and listen, and in so doing, we expand into a partnership with life. In this deepening, all is revealed and we are fully supported.
Carl Studna is a world-renowned photographer, inspirational speaker, teacher and award winning author. Carl’s intimate portraits of influential people ranging from Sir Paul McCartney to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, are published and known worldwide. Carl has taken his message and experiences to print in his book, CLICK! Choosing Love One Frame at a Time. Studna’s innovative work, the LuminEssence Method©, teaches a new paradigm for radiating the light that resides within revealing each person’s authentic gifts.
(c) Photography by Carl Studna